CHAPTER 337

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 347

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENTS IN THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Delete existing subsection 9537(a) of Title 10 in its entirety and replace it with the following:

(a) After verification of the return of service, if a defendant, being duly summoned, fails to appear, by written motion or pleading at or before the date provided for in the summons, or at any time to which the cause is regularly adjourned, judgment by default may be entered. The amount of damages awarded shall be the amount proven to be properly due. Such proof may be by affidavit or, when judgment is entered by the Court, by such other information, as may be required by the Court. A default judgment may be entered as follows:

(1) By the clerk When the plaintiff's claim is 1) based upon a written instrument from which the defendant's agreement to pay the amount claimed can be determined from the face of the instrument or from calculations therefrom; or 2) for a civil penalty payable to the State or any subdivision thereof, a mandatory dollar amount of which is specified by statute, the clerk, upon written application of the plaintiff and upon affidavit of the amount due, giving credit for any payments and showing the amounts and dates thereof, and a computation of any applicable interest to the date of judgement, may enter judgment for that amount and costs against the defendant.

(2) By the Court. When entry of judgment may not be made by the clerk pursuant to subsection (1) or when, the Court, in its discretion, determines that entry of the default judgment should be made by the Court, the Court may enter the judgment. When entered by the Court, the Court may make investigation into and determine the amount of damages properly due. If, in order to enable the Court to enter judgment carry it into effect, or determine the amount of damages, it is necessary to establish the truth of any averment by evidence or to make an investigation of any matter, the Court may conduct such hearings or order such references as it deems necessary and proper.

Approved June 30,2002